This August, Wild Salmon Center completed the first-ever salmon snorkel survey of Mt. Tom Creek, a tributary to the Hoh River located in Washington's Olympic National Park.
Our five-day expedition into the rain-drenched high country of the Hoh River watershed was spawned by the presumption - based upon 1970's helicopter surveys - that wild anadromous fish (such as salmon, steelhead, and bull trout) did not ascend the turbulent canyon section of Mt. Tom Creek. To the contrary, we discovered that indeed they did. We also found that threatened bull trout and stray hatchery steelhead could, too.
Mt. Tom Creek emanates from White Glacier and winds one-and-a-half miles through the deeply trenched bedrock canyons of Mt. Olympus. Cliffs are filled with epiphytic growth of devil's club, maidenhair fern, salmonberry, bunchberry and Sitka spruce seedlings.
We began our journey two miles beyond the canyon's head. Over a period of three days, we snorkeled over five miles downstream to the confluence with the Hoh River. We were drenched to the bone. While getting a full suite of habitat measurements, in conjunction with our fish counts, we managed to acquire some story-worthy bruises, sprains, and cuts. I had the honor of falling into the river on the first day; face first, with a backpack full of dry gear. The effort was well worth it; the data acquired from this expedition is broadening the understanding of wild salmonid distribution within the Hoh watershed in Olympic National Park and will be added to a database that helps inform recovery funding for salmon.
I would like to thank James Starr for spearheading this effort and Nick James for enduring the rigors of some gnarly field work. Their exceptional tracking intuition - likely a result of their familial relations to John Muir and William Clark - kept us on the game trails and salmon tails.
Devona Ensmenger is the Olympic Peninsula Program Coordinator. The Program supports the Wild Salmon Center's longest-standing watershed research effort and aims to nurture a productive interface between salmon science and salmon policy that results in proactive conservation planning and implementation at the local and regional levels on the Olympic Peninsula.
Wild Salmon Center Newsletter
Protecting the Last, Best Salmon Ecosystems
In This Issue
- Sakhalin Salmon Refuge Established
- Wild Salmon Center People in the News
- Wild Salmon Center Earns Highest Charity Rating
Wild Salmon Center has worked with our Russian partners, including Sakhalin Environment Watch, to establish a 165,000 acre salmon/marine refuge on Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. The Vostochnii Refuge in northeast Sakhalin includes two entire ocean-draining basins, the Vengeri and Pursh-Pursh Rivers, protecting habitat for healthy populations of pink, chum and coho salmon, as well as char and other salmonids. The refuge protects some of the last remaining intact forest ecosystems of Sakhalin in perpetuity and includes a 2km marine buffer to protect endangered sea lions.
Since 2002, Wild Salmon Center has been supporting our partners at Sakhalin Environment Watch to create the refuge, develop management plans, fight poaching and other threats to the refuge, and develop a salmon monitoring program. The charter of the refuge makes specific provisions for public participation in protecting the refuge, and Sakhalin Environment Watch has already concluded an agreement with the Sakhalin Administration.
Through the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative, we will work with the Sakhalin Administration to ensure effective protection of the refuge. The Vostochnii Refuge is located in the Smirnikhovsk District of Sakhalin, which is also a proposed site for a sustainable fisheries pilot project. This one area therefore presents an exciting opportunity to showcase a combination of approaches to salmon conservation and sustainable fisheries management.
Dr. Peter Rand, Interim Director of Wild Salmon Center's and Ecotrust's State of the Salmon Program, was recently honored with an award at the American Fisheries Society's 137th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Rand won the Robert L. Kendall Award for his article, Effects of River Discharge, Temperature, and Future Climates on Energetics and Mortality of Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon, published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.
The award-winning paper described the findings of a team of researchers from Oregon and British Columbia which looked at the potential effects of changing water discharges and warming water temperatures on adult sockeye salmon swimming upstream to spawn in the Fraser River, British Columbia.
The American Fisheries Society is the oldest, largest and most influential association of fishery professionals in the world. Their award, the Robert L. Kendall Award, is granted to the author of the best scientific paper published in 2006. Read more about the paper: Effects of River Discharge, Temperature, and Future Climates on Energetics and Mortality of Adult Migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon, by P.S. Rand, S.G. Hinch. J. Morrison, M.G.G. Foreman, M.J. McNutt, J.S. Macdonald, M.C. Healey, A.P. Farrell, and D.A. Higgs. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:655-667.
Wild Salmon Center Board Member Inducted into the 2007 Wild Salmon Hall of Fame
In September, Wild Salmon Center board member, Jim Lichatowich, was honored for his dedication to saving wild salmon at the 5th annual Wild Salmon Hall of Fame awards in Bremerton, WA. He was inducted into the Salmon Hall of Fame along with Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and Jim Kramer, the Executive Director of Shared Strategy for Puget Sound.
The author of Salmon without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis, Jim has worked on Pacific salmon issues as a researcher, manager, and scientific advisor for 37 years. He specializes in the history of salmon management, and the life history and status of salmon and steelhead populations, and the development of restoration plans in the Pacific Northwest. Jim was formerly the Chief of Fisheries Research and Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the State of Oregon. Congratulations Jim!
Oregon Board of Forestry Nominees Confirmed
Two nominees supported by Wild Salmon Center and other conservation groups have been approved by the Oregon State Senate for appointment to the Oregon Board of Forestry. The first nominee is Peter Hayes, president of a firm that manages family-owned forest lands certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The second nominee is Cal Mukumoto, a biomass product manager for Warm Springs Forest Products and a board member of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Both of these nominees support a sustainable stewardship approach to forest management. "We are pleased the board of forestry will gain two forest management professionals that support a balanced approach to forest practices which includes salmon protection and better watershed management in Oregon's forests," said Guido Rahr, President of Wild Salmon Center.
The Wild Salmon Center also congratulates William Hutchinson and Larry Giustina on their reappointments to the Board of Forestry. Rahr adds, "We look forward to working with the new board to ensure the state Forest Management Plan is grounded in the best available science."
The Wild Salmon Center is pleased to report that the organization has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the fourth consecutive year. This rating reflects our commitment to managing the finances of our organization in an efficient and effective manner.
Your financial support is a critical component of our work and is instrumental to our success. We are glad to report that your contributions are spent responsibly and in pursuit of our common goals for salmon conservation.
"Only 4% of the charities we've rated have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that The Wild Salmon Center outperforms most charities in America in its efforts to operate in the most fiscally responsible way possible. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator differentiates The Wild Salmon Center from its peers and demonstrates to the public that it is worthy of their trust" - Trent Stamp, President, Charity Navigator, August 30, 2007.